Posts filed in: November 2007

Shootness Cuteness

comments: 47

Crew1

Is not this the cutest crew you've ever seen? Also four of the nicest people in the universe. I had the best time yesterday, which was so great, because going into it I really felt (and looked) like a dried-up mushroom. (That was before the makeup.) But I think it was my favorite photo shoot ever. That's Andy with Stephanie the makeup artist (she got my hair reeeeeeally straight), Andy the stylist (Clover misses you), and Jake the photographer (genius). Jake is a genius. At one point on Wednesday I looked into the kitchen and it was so dark — pouring rain, late November, Portland , 4 p.m. = dark dark dark — I could barely see the guys. But there they were, happily taking pictures of a crocheted tea cup in natural light. Is that cute or what? You guys are awesome. Thank you so much. (I'll let the rest of you know when it's coming out :-)

Crew2

Clover Meadow Hooligan Paulson was part of the photo shoot, but was already behind bars (not because she was naughty but because four-legged shorties are not allowed in the studio with very expensive cameras on tripods) by the time I shot these photos toward the end of the day. Clover M. H. Paulson has taken to sitting at my feet and barking sharply at me whenever I'm apparently doing something that she doesn't want me to be doing. Like, I don't think she wants me to be writing this post right now. Well, that's life, my little clover meadow. She is awfully loud for a clover meadow. I can't even hear myself write. It's the loudest barking clover meadow I've ever heard.

By the way, I know it seems like only I could've named my dog Clover Meadow. But I didn't name the dog. Andy Paulson named the dog. See, and you thought you knew me. I only vigorously agreed with the names he picked, which is different.

We are due for a corgi portrait around here, aren't we. On it.

Chocomint Plans

comments: 81

Stickyboook_4 Soon, oh soon, this weekend maybe, I will have a chance to bake something. A few weeks ago I got this super cute book, Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey: Desserts for the Serious Sweet Tooth by Jill O'Connor and photographed by Leigh Beisch, but I haven't had a minute to make anything out of it. At Thanksgiving, I came prancing out of the kitchen to show the book to my little sister the pastry chef and she shouted, "I already got that for you for Christmas!" This happens to us all the time. Just need to shop faster!

Anyway, this book is really sweet and adorably designed. The photography is so very pretty. I just like looking at it.

I bought some peppermint oil the other day because I have an idea about making peppermint brownies for my friends and neighbors for Christmas this year. I think that will be my present. I don't love chocolate. It's true. There really are people who don't love chocolate! Too much chocolate. But I do like chocolate cookies with white chocolate chips or chocolate brownies with white frosting or white chocolate chips. Like you care, I know. I always think those pictures of chocolate brownies with white chocolate chips and white frosting with pink swirled in and some chopped up candy canes on top are so pretty. Taste schmaste. As long as it looks pretty, I say. Right?

How are you guys, anyway? I feel so out of it. I have not keep in touch with my friends lately or read any blogs or just hung out. Hallmark will finish the shoot today, and then I will sprint upstairs, put on pajamas, race back down and hurl myself toward the sofa to get caught up on TV watching, and then get the rest of the kits and other orders out this weekend, then decorate for Christmas next week. I am free for two weeks until the book proofs come! What will I do with myself if I'm not sobbing or screeching about how busy I am??? I really feel like shopping. I love shopping. Especially if I don't need anything. I try to make my prezzies (oh yeah, oopsie I forgot I gotta make the prezzies) then just shop for fun, a few little things. My other big project I want to do is make a garland for the picket fence. Now that I have a picket fence I feel absolutely obligated to trim it out. I mean, you have to do that, right? When I look at live evergreen garlands in catalogs I am astounded at how expensive they are! So I might try to make my own. And then I'm sure I will find out why they are so expensive.

Oooo, just found this while Googling. . . . Perhaps a tree lot might provide much the same, however. Must consider.

Family Fun Days

comments: 61

Falls1 What a week! I love this picture of Andy and his mom and gramps at Multnomah Falls. Having lunch at the lodge was only one of so many great things we all got to do together. It was a really extraordinary week and we feel so privileged to have had our family come to stay with us for this holiday. My sister Susie unfortunately leaves today, the last houseguest, and tomorrow Hallmark magazine comes for a photo shoot (yipes) so I'd better go and clean something. I'd like to take a nap.

Filling Santa Lucia kits turned into a family affair. The paint arrived at the end of a long day last week, Tuesday I think — we got home from the brew pub at 9 p.m. and several big boxes were waiting on the porch. I nodded at them in approval — good, got here — then immediately put one foot on the stairs, headed for bed. But my industrious husband and mother-in-law had already dragged the huge boxes in, opened them, and efficiently set everyone up at the dining-room table with a paint-filling station before I stumbled back downstairs, incredulous in my pajamas — We're fa-fa-filling them now? Such employees I had never seen! It is in my very nature to be a party pooper and the first to hit the sack, but how could I refuse the free help, and with such enthusiasm to boot??? Grandpa T. came down in the cutest red flannel nightshirt you ever did see, the Rice-Krispie treats came out, and by 9:30 p.m. all four of us were deep into the rhythm of squirting colors into thousands of tiny plastic pots — each kit needed ten different pots. Those babies got filled by midnight. I could not believe it. It was such a fun night — I'll always remember it. Thank you Mom P. and Grandpa T. and Andy!!! You're all hired, effectively immediately! Or, retroactively!

Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday was delicious, and afterward we had enough people to split up into two teams and play Charades. Each team thought of five movies, songs, books, TV shows, and animals for the other team to act out for its members. While we offered up charming options for our opponents to portray for each other, assuring success for even the smallest participants (song: "Walking in a Winter Wonderland"), the other team, led by Capt. Andy Paulson, whammed us with such classic family favorites as "Screaming for Vengeance" (a suggestion contributed by said captain who, incredulous when we later protested that we'd never heard of this song, insisted that "everyone knows this!!!" heavy-metal hit). The funniest was my sister Julie trying to act out The Bourne Ultimatum by pantomiming giving birth (a tremendous whoosh from between the legs — she did this several times while her teammates watched silently because they could not figure out what in the hootenanny she was doing as our team fell off our chairs laughing) followed by lots of finger-pointing and foot-stomping (as in "right now!" and "come here!" — the "Ultimatum"). Our moms won the prize for our team, however, when my mom successfully led Andy's mom to The Shawshank Redemption. I embarrassed myself completely by running around in a circle, occasionally sticking my bum out and pretending to "sting" several things while flapping my "wings" to suggest a "bee," the third syllable of the first word of TV show Barnaby Jones. Rematch, next year.

Cranberry Countdown

comments: 87

Coffee1

Good morning, coffee! Here we go!

Well, the house is clean, the menu is set, and the guests' plane arrives in about an hour, so I am excited.  Clover's been walked so she should sleep for most of the day, and I should go turn on the basement refrigerator, which I always forget to do. We got an electric turkey roaster ensemble this year for the first time. I didn't even know they made such a thing! How awesome — you stick the turkey in it, turn it on, and then your whole oven is freed up. I hear that the turkey may have trouble browing in this thing, but I'll let you know how it goes. I think Andy is going to start it off in the oven, then transfer it over for the rest of the cooking. He does the turkey by himself, I just eat it.

Schedule1

Santa Lucia kits are getting assembled and are on track so far. I placed another order for wooden parts and paint so those are on their way. Unfortunately, if you didn't get one by Friday, they are sold out since I really want to get them to everyone on time and with the numbers as they are I feel like I am pushing it. Which is a good problem to have! But I am really sorry if you didn't get one. It's a busy time so there isn't a lot of wiggle room, unfortunately. But I think I'll redo these kits with general fabrics, not as Lucias but just sweet little calico sisters. In a few months, though. More for spring. Yada yada.

Anyway, so, okay — signing off here for a few days. Happy Thanksgiving to everyone — I wish you happy cooking, family happiness, and much general fun and joy!

Adding Light

comments: 85

Candle1 Every morning I wake up and I think, "Oh yeah, I keep meaning to show somebody my candle!" And then do I show you my candle? No. I forget. No, this is not a metaphor. I really do have a candle and I am obsessed with the candle.

Candles Mine is a blatant copy of the candles pictured at right from the Wisteria catalog. I would've ordered theirs if the one I wanted had been in stock, but I really did go running to the web site the minute I got the catalog weeks ago and it was already unavailable, I swear! So one of the things I got on my many jaunts to Michaels a few weeks ago was red puff paint (puff paint: a very underappreciated medium, if you ask me, and could be flammable, but I don't think it will get that close to the flame when it's attended) and then I found this short wide candle at Target for $7.99. And then every night I've been freehanding this design around the side. The motif repeats four times. You have to go slow, a little bit each night, to give the paint time to dry lest you smear the whole thing and wreck it and get it all over your comforter, which would be bad since it is fabric paint, meant to stay on fabric.

Candle2 Anyway, I'm not quite done with it, but I want to use it on the table for Thanksgiving. I have this tablecloth and white dishes, and I think it will look really simple and pretty. This is actually my first time as a married lady having both my husband's and my family in attendance and I am a little nervous! Like, I thought that was just a myth or something — I'm not generally a nervous hostess, but maybe I am after all! I just want it to be nice for everyone. I think of pretty party-giving as a way of saying thank you, really. You just want it to be so nice for everyone so that they can have a special day, a day that's fancy and full and just . . . not like every other day. I remember, as a child, being so excited to get dressed up and go to my grandma's, or even just stay home for that special dinner. I have high hopes, but I always do. I guess that's the Hostess M.O.

Nevertheless, I don't think any of us can think about our own dinners, parties, or families without thinking about those who won't be able to get home, or who have nowhere special to go. There are so many ways to give and places to donate to help ease this. Last night as I was surrounded by bits and pieces of light-bringing Santa Lucia and her candles, I was reading the editor's letter from the January issue of Hallmark magazine, where Lisa Benenson, the editor-in-chief, writes in a very moving way about "adding your light to the sum of the light" — doing whatever it is you're able to do, even if it's small or you think it can't really matter much, to contribute to the collective effort to bring peace, health, comfort, and love to our world.

Here in Portland there are many ways to do that this season. Starting tomorrow, Loaves and Fishes has teamed up with many area grocery stores to make it easy for you to donate a meal to seniors when you do your shopping. Zupan's markets has partnered with the Sunshine Divison to accept donations for dinners this week, as well. Hands On Portland has dozens of opportunites not just to donate this holiday season but to get involved. Nationally, here are a few options for Thanksgiving charities recommended by the Fine Living channel. I know there are so many more, and so many more ways, and so many people who know better than I what the world needs — it's easy to feel overwhelmed. But I think that every flicker of light adds to the sum of the light, so even one way helps someone, somewhere. I would love to about what ways other people have found to add their lights, as well, especially around the holidays.

Well jeesh, maybe there was a metaphor up there after all. Two years of MFA school does this to you, I swear. You're like a gumball machine, spitting 'em out. [That one's a simile, but what's the diff. Can't help either one.]

Have I told you lately . . .

comments: 80

. . . that I love you? Probably not. Because the only words that have come out of my mouth for the last six months are "me," "my," "this sucks," "I can't do this," "what's on TV," "can you make me something to eat," "can you let the dog out," "I'm so tired," and "me." But I tell you, that's all about to change. Family, both mine and Andy's, is coming in from out of town next week for Thanksgiving, and I am ridiculously excited, and grateful for so many, many things.

THANK YOU for the Santa Lucia doll-kit orders this week! Egads, people! I knew you were cool, but wow. When I placed the orders for doll parts, I had talked myself into being completely at peace with the possibility that I would wind up with several hundred clothespins in my basement after December 13. But amazingly, I'm about four orders away from ordering more clothespins. And THEN I'll be winding up with several hundred clothespins in my basement, but it's okay, that sort of regret is an emotion I'm very familiar with and willing to risk, because I am determined to meet the clothespin-dollmaking public's enthusiastic demand for clothespin-dollmaking kits!!! Girl Posie will not let you down!!!

So I'll keep taking orders through Friday noon PST. But after that I will be filling 1/8-ounce paint pots faster than an elf jonesin' for a big promotion, 'cause I really want to get these out and in your hands in plenty of time for the 13th. Seriously, thank you for being excited about these. It makes me really happy to be able to share them.

Don't show this picture to Cesar Milan:

Cloverbed1

Or our doggy tutor Steve. He said he was not really down with dogs being in the bed. Turns out Andy and I should probably own one of those docile, homely breeds instead of a bossy corgi who's this pretty, 'cause I mean: You can see the future here, right? I mean, I can see the future here, and even I cannot resist. Andy says, "Oh, but she's so cute! Let her stay!" And I say, "Okay, but don't tell Steve."

Oh Steve, you have your work cut out for you. I'm just sayin.

Santa Lucia Dollmaking Kits for You!

comments: 53

Santaluciakit3

Well, I was too excited to wait. I just couldn't wait.

Although the kits are not completely put together yet (paint and pins are winging their ways from the suppliers to my front door as we speak, though I have cut 44 yards of fabric into 8" squares in two days), I couldn't wait to put them on sale. I am confident that I have ordered enough supplies for everyone, so I'm kind of springing it on you here, I know!

But don't panic — I'll take orders for these all week, at least. I'll make as many as you need, I promise. I should be so lucky! I hope you will like them. I really think you will.

Please order them here, in my lonely little web shop. It has missed me, I think! I've missed it, too.

Oh me oh my, I am very excited and happy about these. I must have been overdue for some sweetness and fun, because I have had an absolutely great couple of days working on them and getting all the parts and pieces together. I've even cooked up a deal with the paint supplier to produce my own custom-colored set of paint pots with varnish and glitter (and yes, the Paulson elves will be filling all of those themselves!), so you will have almost everything you need to make these girls.

Included in each kit are:

5 doll pins
5 doll-pin stands
5 doll head beads
(5) 8" square pieces of calico (for dresses)
5 pieces white pipecleaner (for arms)
3 pieces silver pipecleaner (for candles)
1 piece green pipecleaner (for crown)
Yarn bobbin (for sashes)
Custom acrylic paint set
Varnish and glitter pots
Full-color instruction cards
Dress pattern

You will need only:

Scalloped or zigzag pinking shears
Regular scissors and embroidery scissors
Heavy-weight thread and needle
Assorted paintbrushes
Glue

These will ship the week of November 26. (I will send them overseas via Priority Airmail. I can't tell you what the shipping costs will be beforehand, since it's different depending on where you are in the world, but it's usually not too bad, and these are fairly light.) If you are buying these as gifts and would like them shipped to various addresses, please indicate that in the "message" section of your order [and indicate a "message" to your recipient, as well, and I'll add a card for you].

Thank you! And I seriously cannot wait to see what you make!

Starlight Mints and Sweet Kits

comments: 64

Supplies1

I am sure I'm the last person in the craftosphere to see the line of Martha Stewart stuff for scrapbooking and crafting at Michaels. I don't live that close to a Michaels and hadn't been there in months, but I've been there three times now in the last week. I was sourcing things for my own doll kits and I felt I had to get this Martha kit to make the snowy village because, as Andy says, "Kits are cool."

I guess it's early to be talking Christmas, but not for me. I decided to make all the Christmas presents for the women and kids in my family this year. I hope this is a good idea. I am going to make personalized bags all from fabrics in my stash. Andy and I usually make our family presents every year, and we mostly enjoy it, unless we've started too late and then we start flailing and thrashing about in a panic. You've seen what it looks like when we do that on the porch. It's not pretty. But usually it goes well and it really makes the season feel special to me. Last year Andy silkscreened personalized stationery for everyone. The year before was cookbooks and homemade CDs, the year before that monogrammed polarfleece blankets. The year before that was felt Christmas stockings. I think the year before that was . . . gift cards — every single person got a gift card, no matter what. Whoopsie. I get burnt out, and then it's the exact opposite of "special, handmade." But what can you do. Every year I have good intentions, because I enjoy it, I really do, especially if I start early. This year, especially since I won't be making a bunch of stuff for Posie (alas), I think it will work fine, and I am desperate for some time with a needle and thread in my hand.

I like to wrap for Christmas, too. I really like to wrap. I thought these little paper stars were so pretty. It's a free handout at the display.

Supplies2 These are the kinds of Christmas colors I've always loved. I'm so happy that less traditional colors for the holidays are popular now. These mints and peaches remind me of these little cream-cheese cookies my mom made every Christmas — flaky little circles with a blob of pale pink or a blob of pale green icing. She would begin baking weeks in advance, since she routinely gave big plates of incredible cookies to all of her friends. And I'd have to try hard not to suss out which tin the pink-and-mint-green pillows were waiting in so I could keep myself away. I never liked anything with nuts, or anything with marshmallows, and not really anything chocolate. But a vanilla cookie with some pastel-colored frosting on it? Bumpa-da-bum: Charge!

Those stars would look so pretty hanging over the mantle above the village, wouldn't they? Here's the link to the Frosty Village Decoration Kit, too — they were out of this when I went back the next day. There is some totally awesome stuff over there, very cool boxes to make and other kits. But I do think pasting little stars together will bring me hours of mental relaxation and Serenity Now. Cutting and pasting is another one of those wonderful things that is still cheaper than therapy, and I think works just as well as therapy. Sometimes better.

I went down the road to check out the new Martha stuff at Kmart, too, but I didn't get anything. I don't know why. It's really cute stuff, and it all looked so pretty in the little Kmart catalog that came in the mail the other day, but then when I got there, I don't know. They don't carry paint at Kmart anymore, did you know that? I used to buy a lot of Martha paint there, but the guy said she sells it at Sears now. Man, she gets around.

I don't — my foot has been protesting quite a bit lately (and Andy, honey, I was definitely taking all the stuff you do around here for granted, now that you've been on the sofa for a week. So in case I haven't said it often enough, thank you for everything you usually attend to here at the homestead, and, um, er, are you feeling better now? You are? Phew! [dives exhaustedly for sofa the minute he stands up] ). So I'm going to try to stay grounded and play with putting together my own doll kits.

Thank you for all the feedback on those — I am so excited that you are interested. I was designing the pattern yesterday and I couldn't stop smiling. I really haven't felt this excited in a while. It feels so good to get back in the studio and plan things for you again. These are going to be so cool, cooler than I thought, actually. And yes, in answer to some of you who've asked, I've decided to include paint, varnish, and glitter paint in addition to the doll pins, heads, stands, fabric, and pipecleaners in every kit, so you'll truly have almost everything you need , including the full-color pattern cards. And I am doing a LOT of kits so everyone will be able to have as many as they need. They will make great presents for friends and neighbors and kids and teachers and anyone who might enjoy spending a couple of hours with Christmas crafts (that is, everyone, no?). I will put them on sale some day next week (I'll let you know for sure once I am confident I have all the supplies I need), and yes, I do ship airmail overseas (you just shoot the order through Paypal, as usual, and then I will catch up with you later for the shipping balance, depending on where you are).

We have puppy school later today, so I'd better get that little Clover Meadow ready and on her best behavior. Right now I'm watching her sprint giant figure-eights through the living and dining rooms with a big plushy trout in her mouth. It's like it's chasing her, except that it's in her mouth, and, . . . like that. Puppy short stories. She's the author, protagonist, and narrator of some great ones. My favorite is "I'm Going to Make this Ice Cube Disappear — GONE! I Am Awesome!"

Dispatch from the Poorly Bed

comments: 125

Clover Honey Meadow Pinkytoes Blushbelly Paulson rests on a tuffet of tossed-off blankets, the remains of Andy's illin' Saturday night.

Clover6 Thank you for all your kind words. Thank you especially to everyone who took care of Andy, and sat with me at the hospital, and took care of Clover, and brought us chips and magazines and salad and quiche and cantalope and cookies and hot chocolate and rootbeer and love. Thank you to the girls at OHSU who got us into the VIP suite on 14A, overlooking the beautiful twinkling city and from where we watched the prettiest view of Mt. Hood at sunset I've ever seen.

I think Sunday evening (after surgery) was the most relaxing night of the entire last six months, quite frankly. I slept safely wrapped up in heated blankets on a little cot next to a very happy Andy, whose vital signs were being closely monitored and whose every need was being met by the most wonderful medical professionals in the world. We're so grateful to them all. Thank you.

Clover7

All's well now. You'd think we were jonesin for drama around here or something, no? The way we carry on, I tell ya. I'm tired. I'm rounding home on lots of work and looking forward to some time off, some R&R, some family coming in a few weeks, some crafting. I have pretty things to show you, and plans for the holidays I want to share.

Last night it occurred to me that last year I had wanted to put together kits to make your own Santa Lucia dolls with four attendants, so I'm going to try to do that now. If you would be interested in those, leave me a comment and let me know so I can ballpark how many to prepare. They'll come with supplies and directions. I'll probably work on the kits over the weekend and put them on sale next week, so there will be time for you to get the girls ready for December 13th.

Not one thing, but another.

comments: 191

Not knee surgery, but emergency appendectomy for Andy Paulson, RN, yesterday. Our patient is doing great now. He was doing the total opposite of italicized "great" on Saturday and most of Sunday, however, but all's well now. Immediately after surgery he said he felt 1000% better. Phew.

Not content with simply being named Nurse of the Year and then Employee of the Year, he was definitely jockeying hard to win Patient of the Year, and put in a truly stellar perfomance as not only a good healer with a classic case of appendicitis, but was, in addition, enthusiastic, agreeable, and willing to pitch in on his own medical care and housekeeping, including straightening up his hopsital room while dragging around an IV pole whenever he got up to go to the bathroom last night and today. He said, "See, this is how I am at work. I like to keep things really neat." I said, "You must be leaving that tendency at the door, then, 'cause that's not how you are at home. But I don't care because I'm just very, very glad you're alive and well and I love you. Now please lay down. Like I am." [Said from full-on lounging position on visitor's cot, etc.]

I love that man. And that hospital.

Back after everyone's gotten some sleep, etc.

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.